Digital Badging – the latest and greatest evidence tool for students in preschool through 12th grade to share what they do well – has opened the door for pupils of all ages and backgrounds to document their wide array of skills, talents and intellect. In APS, Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness staff members have aligned the program with the district’s strategic plan APS 2020: Shaping the Future to ensure students can earn credentials (e.g. Digital Badges) that will open doors for them down the road.
A key ingredient in the APS program is to find companies to serve as endorsers. Endorsers help to create valuable experiences for students after they have earned all badges for a specific 21st Century Skill. One such company, Walking Tree Travel, specializes in student travel and helps inspire young adults to become global citizens by taking an active interest in the world around them. APS recently sat down with WTT co-founder Paul Laurie to dissect his interest in Digital Badges and how his company is helping form the next wave of leaders from Aurora.
What initially drew you and WTT to APS’ Digital Badging program?
“We worked with APS before, and what really struck me was how diverse everyone there was. So I wanted to give students an outlet to effect change in their lives.”
Why were you convinced that this would be worth your investment?
“Anything that schools are doing that’s sort of experimental to try to push their own comfort zones beyond the classroom is worth an investment to us. We thought this could be a good extension of ways to influence students outside the classroom.”
Why do you think credentials are so vital for students to have nowadays?
“For HR departments that are dealing with hundreds of resumes, school names and extracurriculars begin to blend together. Credentials such as the APS Badging program help candidates stand out, as it demonstrates a dedication to learning the soft skills and earning the hard skills that are so important in the workplace.”
What type of impact do you want to have on APS students and their futures?
“We hope that APS students learn that although the world is a big place and it might seem hard at times to have any effect on a larger scale, there are local companies right in Colorado that can help propel them to have a global impact and become engaged in the international sector.”
Interested in becoming an APS Digital Badge endorser? Contact Josh Kusch, Specialist for Programs & Partnerships, at 303-340-0859 or JFKUSCH@aps.k12.co.us.